02 May The rights and wrongs of life science entrepreneurship. Why the BioCity Accelerator Programme wants to help you get it wrong.
Read time: 3 minutes
May 2, 2019
Will it work? Is the question every (would-be) entrepreneur and business owner asks themselves.
One of the few certainties you do have when starting up a new life science venture, however, is that at some point, something will go wrong. You will face setbacks. Ideas, solutions and prototypes will fail. Cue, the BioCity Accelerator Programme.
Helping you predict where it could go wrong so you can get it right, is at the very core of what we teach on the BioCity Accelerator Programme. An eight-week programme of entrepreneur coaching during which we help you test your theories and explore the possibilities in a risk-free environment.
ACCELERATOR PROGRAMME LESSON #1.
Day one. Answer four questions in a five-minute presentation about your science business idea.
- Who’s your customer?
- What’s the problem?
- How big is the problem?
- Does your solution solve the problem?
From here on in, we encourage you to get it wrong – a lot; with customer discovery.
Get out there and talk to the people who you think are your customers and get the answers which could tangibly affect your venture.
Does your solution solve their problem? No? Mark it down as a fail and move on to the next. And repeat. Until all uncertainties are eliminated and what you’re left with is a robust, viable and scalable business. Do this as quickly and as soon as possible to get it right in the long term.
ACCELERATOR PROGRAMME LESSON #2
The number one reason start-ups fail is making a product that no-one wants. Start-ups who solutions solve nothing are doomed, but it’s a dead end easily stumbled into.
Dr Stewart Adams, the Nottingham chemist who discovered ibuprofen in the labs currently home to BioCity based businesses, tested over 600 compounds and failed four clinical trials before finding the compound that became ibuprofen.
Getting it wrong is a must. Ultimately the difference between success or failure of a good idea is what you do when it goes wrong. If failure is a full stop or a bullet point on a list of iterations.
Identifying how, where and why it’s wrong at the earliest possible stage in your venture’s development, is essential. Before day jobs are quit, money is spent, and livelihoods are at stake.
Investors look at three things: the team, the tech and the market. During the Accelerator Programme, we have already looked at two of these things.
- The entrepreneur. Are they motivated, enthusiastic and resilient? Start-ups need energy and teams who can recover when things go wrong.
- The market. The solution on offer, does it meet a un-met need and solve a real problem experienced by a large number of people? Both are crucial to commercial viability.
Successfully graduating from the BioCity Accelerator Programme helps your chances of getting a foot in the door with potential investors because you as an investee, are more credible. You’ve done your homework and come out the other side with something sound. What happens after that, when you’re stood in front of them with an idea and a PowerPoint; that’s all you. The due diligence you gain from the Accelerator Programme can get you in the room.
AFTER THE ACCELERATOR PROGRAMME.
Beyond the immediate future of launching a life science start-up, getting to grips with getting it wrong is a life-long lesson. The principals we teach entrepreneurs are just as valuable to leadership teams in growing businesses.
Challenge your assumptions, look for weak spots and learn lessons each time it goes wrong.
To do this and bounce back with renewed vigour and determination is what sets you apart. So important, that to BioCity Accelerator Programme coaches this is the most reliable indicator that would-be entrepreneur will go on to succeed.
Maybe not this time, but they will succeed.
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